Who pays for the dinner?

You are going out to have dinner with your boyfriend and with another friend. You get the bill. Who pays?

Where I’m from, everyone just pays their own part. Sometimes the boyfriend invites, and sometimes the girlfriend invites too. But usually my boyfriend and I always split the costs. It would just not be fair for him to pay each time when going for dinner. I would not even want that and I would not want to pay for his dinner each time either. We usually just split the cost of the bill into half.

We went for dinner with a chinese friend. When we asked for the bill she calculated the price. It was 26 Yuan for her and then she told my boyfriend that it was 52 Yuan for him. I was ready to give her my part of the money. I think I tried like three times to pay my part but all the time she pointed to my boyfriend and telling him that he has to pay 52 Yuan.

By the way we communicate with a translator machine because she can’t speak much English and my Chinese is still not good enough haha. Just so you can imagine that communication wasn’t easy either.

So my boyfriend paid 52 Yuan and I then gave him the half of it. The chinese friend seemed surprised. For me it was just the normal thing to do.

One day later when we met again she asked me why I paid my own bill and if my boyfriend and I always “go dutch”. I explained her that I don’t want him to pay and that it’s just not fair for the guy to pay all the time. I told her that this is very normal in Austria. She was really surprised and told me that here in China the boyfriends always pay everything …poor guys haha.

 

 

 

Chinese and their phones

In Europe you can already see many people walking around the streets looking at their phones instead of paying attention to everything else. Also in the subways, on the bus etc. Here in China it is much more. You think in Europe it’s already too much? Now imagine China. Wherever you go, people are on their phones. It’s also because they just use it for everything. The pay with it, they order online. Everything goes fast and easy. The can find coupons for restaurants etc. It all works with the phone.

I have one Chinese friend who I keep in touch with every day. We usually see each other on the weekends but she texts me everyday. I am not the kind of person who likes to text all the time. When I eat lunch or dinner I don’t like to use my phone. When I study Chinese, I don’t like to use my phone. When I am out with Javi, I don’t like to use my phone,… So she texts me and I respond her whenever I have time to respond but usually not immediately otherwise I would be on the phone the whole day texting. But whenever I text her, I get an immediate response like a few seconds later. So this can only mean she is already on the phone. AND IT’S LIKE THAT EVERY DAY!

It’s also crazy how many pictures they take. Sometimes it is really annoying. When we do a day trip or go out for dinner of course we want to take pictures too as a memory. One or two group pictures are enough. Some picture here and maybe some picture there. But they want pictures all the time!! “Let’s take a picture here! Let’s take one here too!” “Group picture!” “Selfie!” “Girls picture!” “Boys picture!” “Video!” OMG. Too much.

I love taking pictures but this is too much because you cannot even enjoy being somewhere because all the time you have to pose for a picture. Of course not all chinese are the same, I know that, but the majority really does like to take lots of pictures…especially with foreigners.

And they love filters. As you can see on the picture below. I saw that they have already set filters when taking pictures. So whenever I take a picture with her it is already like edited. Our skins are whiter and softer, our eyes are bigger and rounder, our noses are thinner and our face gets a different shape. It’s really fake and I don’t like these pictures at all. When you see a selfie of a chinese girl she probably does not look like that in real life. Unfortunately I saw that several times. One girl I know has a really round face and is a little bit chubby but still she looks pretty cute in real life. Then I saw a photo she posted on Wechat and I could not believe it. She looked like a totally different person with probably 10 kg less. Her face was all of a sudden not round anymore and her eyes much bigger and so on. I mean…come on! Is that really necessary?? I think it is already sad that woman have to wear lots of make up to feel good but posting fake pictures of oneself is awful.

New gym

Javi and I were looking for a gym close to our home. On the map there showed up several gyms but we only found one. We walked around and looked for any signs or anything but we just couldn’t find the gyms. We then found a gym (recommended by a work colleague of Javi) next to the shopping center “MixC”. It’s around 15 minutes walking distance from our home so it’s okay. We knew the price for one year should be 2000 CNY. When we first went there they told us it would be 2500 CNY. Maybe a foreigner price? We don’t know. Anyways Javi asked his work colleague if he can come with us to negotiate the price and that’s what he did. So we paid 2000 CNY (= 250 EUR) for one year.

Side note: it’s really funny how chinese people negotiate. They listen to what the other guy says without even looking at each other and kind of ignoring him. It was really weird and not the first time I saw it. When the lady at the airport negotiated the price for the taxi it was the same. After the first offer she just walked away, ignoring the guy and not even looking at him while the guy is running after her trying to convince her. So different.

The gym is okay. The design is nice and the machines are good (TechnoGym) but there are many more trainers than customers. There are like 10 trainers there (way too many) and don’t do anything the whole day. From time to time they have a customer and can do personal training but most of the time they are just there doing workouts themselves, or taking pictures, or eating… In general – here in China – you can see that in any small store there are like 5 people whereas in Europe there would only be 1 or maximum 2. And they just stand around because they have nothing to do. I don’t say that in a negative way but that’s just how it is. There are way too many people and not enough jobs. So 5 or even more people do the job of one. It’s crazy. And sad at the same time because this means that instead of one person getting paid 1.000 EUR a month, these 5 people only get paid around 300 EUR a month because there are just too many people.

Anyways… we go to the gym everyday from Monday to Friday. Saturday and Sunday are our rest days. We used to go everyday at 7 in the morning but unfortunately here in Chine the gyms don’t open that early. Now we usually go at around 10 or 11, depending on our schedules.

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Update: Life in Nanning

Long time no blog post. Since we moved here it was a little bit chaotic and I didn’t really find the time to just sit down and write and organize my stuff.

To sum up the last two months were like this:

We finally figured everything out and got each a bank account so we can use Wechat pay. Here in China instead of using Whatsapp they use Wechat. The really cool thing is that they also pay with Wechat. But everything. Even at street food markets or some seller on the street – they all have a QR code and you just have to scan the code, put in the amount of money and pay. So easy, so fast, so convenient, so… safe? I’m not sure if it is very safe but I haven’t heard of any problems and I really like it to be honest. No need to touch bills and coins that hundreds of people have touched before. And it is much faster because you always have your phone with you. The only bad thing is when you run out of battery and don’t have any cash on you like it happend to me haha. But that’s why all chinese usually have power banks. So they can charge the phone anytime. But Chinese and their phone will be another blog post because there is also a big problem going on here.

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Anyways we have bought only the basic things for the flat like (of course) blankets and sheets, 2 pots and 1 pan, cutlery and this kind of stuff. Also a big white board so I can write down my weekly schedule. I just love to write down and be organized 😀

We downloaded the app “Taobao” which is like the Amazon of China. We now order everthing we need on Taobao. It is cheaper than at the supermarket and it gets delivered right to your door – awesome! Now it’s all easy but in the beginning without a bank account and without a chinese friend that can translate (because the app and also pretty much everything else is only in chinese) was pretty hard. Some of the stories I will tell in another blog post otherwise it will be too much for now.

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Other than that we made some friend. There are many spanish people here although Javi doesn’t want to speak any spanish because he wants to learn English (we speak English to each other). And we made a good chinese friend, her English name is Monet. Chinese people that learn English or have contact with foreigners usually give themself an English name so it’s easier for us to pronounce. She is very sweet and helped us A LOT. She helped us pretty much with everything.

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I also found a college where I can learn Chinese and I was able to change my visa from a tourist visa to a student visa. This was another complicated story with first registering at the police station. I had to go there 3 times because of communication problems. At the police station nobody spoke english and we were communicating by google translate on the phone. So it took me a while to finally get the registration certificate and then changing my visa and get a resident permit. I cannot tell you how relieved I am that all this is finally over and now the “normal” life here in China can begin 🙂

 

 

The first day in Nanning

We got up at 8 in the morning. Well actually Javi got up at 6 and tried to convince me for more than one hour to get up too but I was still so tired. We walked around the area to find breakfast with WiFi. Not easy at all. We then found a little supermarket where we bought water and breakfast to go. Then we found a little WiFi spot on the street where we stayed for a few minutes to answer all the messages and talk to the family. I then looked up the address to go to the police station because if you don’t stay at a hotel you have to register at a police station within 24 hours. On the map it all looked like it was close to each other but in the end it took us a long time to get there only to find out that it was closed. But closed like forever – it was completely empty and full of garbage inside. We found a shopping center with WiFi and that’s where I checked the address of a different police station. Again, it looked like kind of around the corner and only a few streets away but it was almost an hour walking in the end and it was sooo hot and humid.

Next issue: registration at the police office

We were comunicating with our phones translating english to chinese and vice versa. So we sat there trying to do the registration. I had to fill in a form on the police officer’s phone because all the printed paper is in Chinese. A required field was Chinese phone number. But I don’t have one. It took us around half an hour to figure out following: I can use a friends chinese number but I did not have any because WeChat works with username so I can’t see the number. The chinese police officer made me a hotspot and I could use his internet to find a friend with chinese number. I called a girl from Spain that I haven’t even ever met before but we talked to each other because she was going to help me with the chinese language course. She then agreed to send me her chinese phone number. The police officer sent a verification code to her and she then sent a screenshot to me. All this trouble was for nothing in the end. Why? Because the next thing he asked me for was a confirmation letter of the landlord because if it is not a hotel you are required to have a confirmation letter. Of course I did not have one so the whole thing was a waste of time.

There was a Chinese-looking guy next to us and asking us if we need any help. He spoke English perfectly and I was so relieved to be able to speak with someone. He then told us that he is from Scotland but he learnt Chinese for 3 years – awesome! He helped us a lot and in the end the police officer said that I can register online when I get a chinese phone number. The scottish guy then called a taxi for us to bring us to a shopping center with Walmart so we can buy some stuff for the flat. He said: „The taxi driver already knows where you want to go. Just get out of the car and don’t give any money – even if he asks for money. It’s already paid by me“. Since I arrived in China I was in many situations like „oh shit that sucks so much and so complicated“ and „this is awesome, so nice I can’t believe it“. If you know what I mean… it’s just a rollercoaster of feelings. It was great talking to him and we got his wechat contact. Then we went to Walmart

The apartment we are staying at now is only temporarly because in 2 days the company will give Javi another one. Javi told the company that it is important for him to have a flat for himself because I was going with him. But the flat they gave him was a shared flat so after complaining they told him that they will find a solution. So right now I am still at the shared flat. It is an empty flat. There is nothing. No toilet paper, hand soaps, kitchen stuff… not even one single pan or pot or fork or anything. Absolutely nothing. (and yes, there was someone living there… I don’t understad how you can live like that to be honest)

Since we knew we would get to a different flat we did not buy much. Just a small towel to take a shower, toilet paper and food that we can eat without kitchen stuff. Even the food shopping was complicated but that would be too long of a story to explain now. In the end we just got a lunch that we did not even expect because of some communicaton problems but it was really tasty. At Walmart a chinese man came to us and asked if we need any help. After talking to him for a while he asked what we do in China. When Javi said that he works as a football coach the chinese man said that he knows a person (his ex work colleague) who works with football coaches here. He then showed Javi the contact and they found out that it is the exact same person that has been organising Javi’s arrival for a long time. The chinese man and Javi then took a picture to send it to her. In the beginning we did not expect that it is the same person because people here have 2 names: a chinese name and an english name. And Javi only knew the english name of her while the chinese man only knew her chinese name. But in the end it was super funny and such a big coincidence. I mean.. our first day in a city with 7 million people and we find some chinese guy at walmart that knows the person who works with Javi haha. Just crazy.

So that’s it for today. Now I am at the flat. Javi is at work but has a work dinner today to get to know more people etc. Since we only have one key and still no internet and no idea when he will come home I just prefer to stay in the room (after what happened yesterday I am not going to do that again). But like that I have time to organize some things.